I posted a few weeks ago, looking for a place to take a client near LAX on a Saturday night. After a lot of teeth gnashing, I opted for Flemings Prime Steakhouse on Rosecrans in Manhatten Beach. Went last Saturday, and I'm glad I did.
Its your typical steakhouse decor, leather booths, white table linens, with a open kitchen across the back of the restaurant. Nice bar off to the left as you enter. Competent friendly servers and bus people.
While there are a few seafood items on the menu (salmon, shrimp, crabcakes, a daily fresh fish), the place really is about the steaks. They do all the traditonal cuts. The client loved her veal chop and my wife liked her petite filet. I had the bone in New York. It was cooked dead on medium rare (as I'd ordered) and was as good a piece of prime beef as I've had in a long time -- very juicy and flavorful. The steaks come on very hot plates, a la Ruth Chris.
Everything is a la carte, and they have the typical sides -- fries, mashed, spinach creamed or not, creamed corn, asparagus, onion rings etc. The sides area all large enough to be shared. Two of us started with the onion soup and a green salad -- both were just "ok." We'd probably been better of with the BBQ shrimp appetizer the waitress recommended. The House salad and iceberg wedge salads looked like good choices for a subsequent visit.
The fries are not square but rectagular cut -- a nice touch which usually provides for more crispiness. On Saturday, our spuds could have used a few more minutes in the fryer -- not that we didn't gooble them down anyway, mind you. The fries are served in a large paper cone sitting inside like a bud vase holder.
There's a nicely thought out 4 page wine list in each menu, with most wines priced from $30-$80 a bottle. Best of all, most of the wines are available by the glass. My dining companiions enjoyed the fact that because the long wine list is part of every menu, we could all have the list in front of us as we discussed what to order. We opted for a David Bruce Pinot Noir followed by a Cain Cuvee.
For dessert we went with the key lime pie and creme brulee. Both were good, but nothing special. If you think to order it ahead with the rest of your meal, the waitress said the molten chocolate cake is much like a chocolate souffle and quite good.
So next the big shocker. The check comes, and excluding the wine, its UNDER $50 per person. How is this possible, I think, when the steaks are around $30 a la carte and the three of us had 2 starters, 3 mains, two sides and two deserts. This place is comparable in every sense to the best steak places in town, which can typically run almost twice as much per person. The awswer is in the price of the sides, starters and deserts, which are real bargains in the neighborhood of $6. You can have a very nice meal at this place for under $50 per person.